Carter leaves with freed American
S KOREA: Former US President Jimmy Carter flew out of North
Korea Friday after securing the release of an American citizen and a
pledge from Pyongyang that it wants to resume nuclear disarmament talks.
The Nobel peace laureate left with Aijalon Mahli Gomes, an
African-American who was jailed for illegally crossing into the North
from China in January.
“At the request of President Carter, and for humanitarian purposes,
Mr Gomes was granted amnesty” by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, said a
Carter Centre statement.
Gomes, 30, was first detained in January and sentenced in April to
eight years of hard labour and a fine of about 600,000 dollars for
illegal entry into North Korea.
The US State Department said it welcomed his release, while stressing
anew that Washington played no official role in Carter’s mercy mission.
“We appreciate former president Carter’s humanitarian effort and
welcome North Korea’s decision to grant Mr Gomes special amnesty and
allow him to return to the United States,” department spokesman Philip
Television pictures showed Carter escorting Gomes, who was dressed in
casual pants and a white polo shirt, up the steps of a private jet with
a party of North Korean officials on the tarmac.
The Carter Centre said it expected Gomes would return to the US city
of Boston on Friday afternoon to be reunited with his family.
SEOUL, Friday, AFP